Are You Marketing Smart… or Shooting from the Hip?
In this article you will learn how to be very strategic in your marketing efforts and how to invest your resources wisely in order to convert qualified prospects into customers.
My marketing strategy is to sell more products.
It’s important to understand the relationship between sales and marketing. Marketing is more strategic in nature and provides the foundation for sales. Everyone in a company is in marketing whether they realize it or not. Every activity that touches the customer either directly or indirectly is a marketing activity. Engineering, manufacturing, shipping and receiving, customer service, technical support and accounting are a few examples of indirect marketing. They each have some interface with the customer. They help set the brand personality. What kind of company are we? How will we be perceived externally? How will we treat our customers? Our vendors? Other more direct marketing activities include branding, pricing, public relations, affiliate partnerships, advertising and competitive analysis. These marketing activities lay the foundation for all our sales activities. Sales on the other hand falls into one of three categories, identifying and capturing qualified prospects, converting qualified prospects into customers, and maintaining an ongoing trusted relationship with the customer for value exchange.
I’m not a marketing genius, where do I start?
The following key questions will give you a very good start on better understanding what your selling, to whom, why they’ll buy it and how you’ll present your value proposition.
1. What exactly is our product and what does it do?
2. What is the target market and what is its personality?
3. What benefit is the target market looking to get out of our product?
4. What is our Unique Selling Proposition – What makes our product different, better, or more desirable than other similar products available?
5. How will this be conveyed to the customer?
6. How will we prove it?
7. How will our product stand out above its competitors?
8. Who are the top competitors and what are they doing right and what are they doing wrong?
Is your marketing message an information flea market?
Every marketing message whether it’s a magazine ad, an infomercial, or a sales pitch should follow a few key design principles. You want one thing to stand out in the customers mind, one thing that they’ll remember in the morning. Send them too many messages and they’ll remember nothing. You must clearly understand what your objective is. It may not be to close the sale. It may be to get them to request more info, to set an appointment, or to introduce you to the decision maker.
Your message should be constructed to support the following design principles:
1. Lead with your Unique Selling Proposition
2. Close with your solid Most Wanted Response (MWR)
3. Enhance Desire with Key Benefits
4. Create Rationale with Features
5. Build Trust and Credibility
6. Eliminate Risk
7. Make a Compelling Irresistible Offer
8. Tell Them Exactly What To Do
Answer the obvious questions in your prospect’s mind.
Your prospect will have several questions in the back of his mind that he may never ask, but he won’t buy until they are answered. Your objective is to answer these questions before they are asked or before your prospect just walks away.
1. Do I really want this? – Emphasize benefits
2. What exactly will I be getting? – Provide a description and a picture of the product.
3. Is it of good quality? – Answer with testimonies and perhaps features.
4. How can I trust this merchant? – Show a photo, tell your story, explain the guarantee, display trusted agencies.
5. What happens if I don’t like the product? – Describe your guarantee and return policy.
6. How do I order? – Show the next step. Make the order process obvious.
Write effective sales copy.
Words Sell! The delivery of your message must be carefully crafted to maximize the conversion of your visitor to your most wanted response. The next newsletter issue will go into great detail about how to draw your prospect into your message.
When you’re done, re-check it, double-check it, and write it again.
Carefully prune your message until it concisely communicates with as few simple words as possible. Here’s a checklist to help you refine your message.
1. Does the message finish with a solid most wanted response (MWR)?
2. Is the opening line a “Big Gun”? Does it transmit the major benefit, the USP, to the prospect? Do the next couple of paragraphs build on that?
3. Scan through each section of the message. Is there a logical progression that builds to the MWR?
4. Are all the major benefits covered? Have you enhanced desire by painting word and graphic pictures of the benefits?
5. Have you helped the prospect create a rationale by describing key distinguishing features?
6. Does the MWR Closer Section build an offer that makes the MWR irresistible? Is the offer so good that you’d be afraid to pass it up?
7. Have you offered proof and major credibility-builders? Do you get an overall good, believable solid feel from the message?
8. Have you eliminated the risk (i.e. guarantee, etc.)? Is that clear to the visitor?
9. Is it all bundled in a clear call to action where the visitor is told exactly what to do?
10. Is the visitor reminded of the major benefits again?
11. Is there a strong and logical reason why action is required right now?
12. Does the visitor understand exactly what she gets? Don’t take this for granted.
13. Does the message maintain a “you-oriented” focus throughout the message? Have you eliminated all references to I, we, my, our, and us.
14. Read it all out loud to a colleague or spouse. Does anything ring hollow, embarrass you, or just plain doesn’t work? Fix it.
15. Once it is as good as it can be, spell-check it. Then proof-read for spelling errors missed by the spell checker. Review it for reasonable grammar. Double-check it if a lot of changes are made.
I’ll just send my prospect to my company website.
Sadly, too many companies send their prospects and the click-throughs from promotions to their company website’s home page. Unless you are offering a single product with a micro-site, this can be a big mistake. The average home page doesn’t provide a clear path to the product you are advertising, nor is it suited to follow a particular ad, cinch the deal, and bring in the sale. Instead, the average home page provides a half-dozen rabbit trails that your potential customer can explore before she gives up in disgust and impatience. A professionally crafted marketing message, on the other hand, is designed to accomplish a specific targeted objective.
You’ve learned how to be very strategic in your marketing efforts and how to invest your resources wisely in order to convert qualified prospects into customers.